Meridian Star

March 25, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — 'It’s Only Beer?'


    I read yesterday in The Baptist Record that the Mississippi Senate this past week approved (without allowing for voter input) a bill that would increase the amount of alcohol in so-called craft beers that are currently not available in the state, due to their high alcohol content. Under the measure, alcoholic beverages would be permitted to have a much higher alcohol volume to accommodate these fancy brews.

    The bill also contains sweetheart provisions for the state’s few breweries and for individuals who wish to home brew their own beer.

    I agree whole-heartedly with the position of William Perkins, editor of the above mentioned paper. He cites several cases in recent years of drunk or drinking drivers killing innocent people, being locked up only to be let out so they can kill again.

    “Mississippi is awash in alcohol already”, he says, “but a majority of the state’s senators apparently believe there isn’t already enough alcohol or alcohol tragedies to go around. Maybe they think that a few dollars in taxes on these products are worth the destruction and maiming of human beings.”

    “Hey, it’s only beer!” We hear that all the time from uninformed teenagers and naïve adults. As a former Drug Education Specialist in the Clarke County Schools, I share the following information for your consideration:

    1 Alcohol is America’s number one drug problem.

    2 Beer is the drug of choice among today’s youth.

    3 Every year 26,000 Americans die on the highways related to drinking and driving – not just DRUNK driving.

    4 Alcoholic beverages (including beer) causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a disease that causes mental retardation in newborn babies.

    5 58% of fourth graders do not know that alcohol is a drug, compared to 81% who know that marijuana is a drug.

    6 Maybe it’s time to give BALANCE and PERSPECTIVE to the problems of society lest we continue to be naïve and hypocritical to the point of stumbling over one problem while trying to solve another.

    7 Maybe it’s time to call your senators and representatives in Jackson at 601-359-3770 or visit and let them know what you think.


Arlis Nichols


No need for charter schools

    Why do we need charter schools?  Why can’t we operate ALL schools as if they are charter schools?

    Shortly after being appointed to the Meridian School Board, I attended a charter school convention to learn more about them.  I came away with one over powering observation—they’re not doing anything that the school district can’t do.  If we would treat the schools in the district as if they were charter schools, then the entire district would benefit.

    For Mississippi, the real benefit of charter schools appears to be parental involvement and the ability to attract the brightest students.  It doesn’t take a charter school for parental involvement.  Rather we’ve somehow got to make parental involvement in education a reality throughout the district.  And selecting the superior students for a charter school only increases the chance of failure for the remainder. Finally, siphoning off assets for charter schools means it’s just that much harder to achieve success where success is so critical.


Fred Wile